Many companies want to start using Twitter to promote their brand and business, but don’t really know where to start. As most companies are starting to realize, Twitter is a great way to reinforce your brand, share news and important information, gather feedback , advertise and most importantly, start a dialogue with your customers and prospects – and the only cost is the time of the people involved with managing the Twitter feed.
Here is a short list of best practices for corporate Twittering that I compiled for one of my clients. Most small-to-medium businesses should be able to achieve results with a couple of hours of effort per week.
Pick a Twitter name that matches your company name or alternatively a name that includes your company name such as @companyteam
Build up a level of tweets so other users will see you as credible and relevant – the minimum number of tweets that you should accumulate before you start promoting your account is somewhere in the 50 to 100 range (most users will ignore you if you have few tweets or haven’t been tweeting for very long)
Fill out your profile completely including a URL as most people will not follow anyone with an incomplete profile
Create a customized Twitter homepage (that matches your corporate brand as much as possible) to provide additional information about your company and products
Getting your message out
Try to tweet 5 to 8 times per day, and you should space them out throughout the day if possible
Only 20% or so of your tweets should be related to your company or include a marketing or ‘advertising’ message – the others should be tweets about related topics that provide value to your followers or show a more human side of your company; people will stop paying attention to you if you use Twitter exclusively for self-promotion
Most of your tweets should contain a link to a website, blog post, article, etc. – these are the types of tweets will establish your Twitter account as being a source of great content and worthy of being followed back
Use HootSuite‘s to schedule your tweets and to track your tweet clickthrus and their Hootlet app to easily tweet the URLs of content at the source – Hootsuite also lets you include multiple users on the same account which can help to spread out the Twitter workload
Use one or more of the Twitter directories (WeFollow or Twellow) to locate potential users to follow based on their interests and geography
Follow anyone who mentions your company or keywords that important for your business
Periodically do a Twitter search on your company name or click on @yourname from right panel to see who is re-tweeting you or mentioning your name
@reply people to thank people or to just reach out to them
RT or re-tweet posts that you think are worthy – generally these people will notice and start following you
You don’t want to grow your Twitter following too quickly – steady growth is better and a goal of growing 100 to 200 per month is a good start for most businesses
Pear Analytics released their study of Twitter usage this month and it had some interesting surprises. To conduct the study, they randomly sampled 2000 Tweets over the course of a 10 days between the hours of 11am and 5pm. Their original hypotheses was that Twitter was being used primarily for self-promotion.
What the results actually showed was that the majority of tweets were totally pointless babble (41%) followed closely by total conversational (38%). I knew that I see a lot of totally pointless babble in my Twitter feed, but the beauty of Twitter is that it makes it easy to scan and filter out the nonsense.
I am surprised that the News and Pass Along value are so low.
Excerpt from Pear Analytics Twitter Study
Pear also analyzed the Twitter usage by day of week and time of day. For example, most re-tweets occurred on Mondays and a higher percentage of Pass Along tweets occurred early in the day.
Of course, individuals may get different results based on strictly you screen new followers or how rigorous you are in pruning out Twitter ‘deadwood’. For example, I generally don’t follow anyone with less than 100 tweets or who do not include a link in their profile. This keeps my noise level down even with over 1,000 followers. Because of my self-filtering, my spam total is also fairly low.
It would be interesting to see Pear conduct this survey again or to have it verified by another research study. But for now, it’s the best analysis out there.
The Pear study also provided these Twitter statistics from Quantcast from June 2009:
Twitter reaches 27 million people per month in the U.S.
55% are female
43% are between 18 and 34
78% Caucasian, but African American users are 35% above Internet average
Average household income is between $30 and $60k
1% of the addicts contribute 35% of the visits
72% are passers‐by, while only 27% are regular users